AANB05070U  Introduction to the Anthropology of Islam and the Middle East

Volume 2016/2017

This course seeks to provide a broad-based introduction to the core themes and ideas of the anthropology of the Middle East, and by extension of the Anthropology of Islam. It begins by exploring the reasons behind the relatively late emergence of the Middle East as an area of study, before moving on to consider such topics as Orientalism, Gender, rural vs. urban anthropology, the role of religion (traditional and modern), and the forging of a regional subjectivity (as witnessed in the ongoing uprisings throughout the Middle East – the so-called “Arab Spring”). The course is intended both to stand alone as a regional module, and to offer a overview of the issues for those students who wish to take their study of the Middle East one step further.

Learning Outcome

The goal of this course is twofold: simultaneously theoretical and empirical. By the end of the course, students are expected to have a firm grasp of the development of the anthropology of the Middle East and of Islam, from its colonial origins to contemporary work. They are also expected to have a clear idea of key lines of tension and conflict in the Middle East today and to be able to discuss the contemporary geo-political and cultural situation. In the exam, the student must with clear language and lucidly argumentation exhibit that the he/she is capable of:

• identifying an independent anthropological problem statement relevant to the course's subject matter
• demonstrating factual knowledge of a selected ethnographic field and/or empirical considerations relevant to the course’s subject matter
• demonstrating insight into selected central theoretical concepts relevant to the chosen subject area and course material
• conducting an analysis based on central concepts or themes presented during the course.

Students must also fulfil the Department of Anthropology's form and language requirements (see the curriculum 4.3.2 for more about form and language requirements).

BSc and Open Education students: 500 pages obligatory literature.
MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages of literature chosen by students

Literature chosen by students must be relevant to the course’s subject matter.

Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website

A combination of lectures, discussions, student presentations and group work
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Portfolio-examLength: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 3-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

1. re-exam:

An essay must be submitted at the announced date. The students must sign up for the 1. re-exam.

Please note that the re-exam is an essay even for courses, where the ordinary exam is a portfolio exam.

2. re-exam:

A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date next semester. The students must sign up for the 2. re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 7
  • Seminar
  • 21
  • Preparation
  • 160
  • Study Groups
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 18
  • Total
  • 210